Veteranisation – Bat Conservation and Old Wood Features

Back in March 2020, the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) had organised a Woodland Bat Symposium at the WWF’s Living Planet Centre in Woking, Surrey. Only days before the battiest people from across the country were due to meet and share the latest news on bats in woodland habitats, the national conference was postponed – the first Covid-19 lockdown was around the corner. I was due to attend the conference to present a talk about how the Woodland Trust has beenRead more

A Woodland Cycle of Renewal

February is a month of lighter mornings and lengthening days, bringing an innate sense that, though we have not seen the last of the frost and snow, a new cycle of renewal is beginning. Some days have that fresh smell of sunlight warming the cold earth, where hints of spring emerge, raising flashes of yellow celandine and spears of green bluebell leaves that break through last year’s leaf litter. Nature’s inevitable cycle starts an annual awakening of wildlife but carriesRead more

Nature’s Grand Recycling Plan

Spring is just around the corner and it is our last chance to appreciate the bare trees and the amount of dead wood left in East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. Here we understand the value of these carbon stores and the wildlife value they hold: a dead tree creates a gap in the canopy for the next generation of trees to grow; the leaf litter created in autumn by fallen leaves is a valuable food source and habitat, and ifRead more

An Industrious Rural Landscape

Devon’s landscapes are often considered to be among the most beautiful and diverse in the country. From the wind-swept moors and steep river valleys of Dartmoor, rolling through the lush green hills of south Devon to the towns, estuaries and beaches along the sparkling coast, there is a timeless quality to this wonderful county. But it hasn’t always looked like this. In fact, it’s never stopped changing through thousands of years where human endeavours have marked the landscape. Mineral extraction,Read more

Woodland Management – Honing the Technique

Woodland restoration is an evolving technique based on both science and what is known about the local conditions in each individual wood. The Bovey Valley Woods are a good case in point as they are varied in their species makeup and located on Dartmoor, where steep ground and high humidity are typical. Continuous Cover Forestry is a form of ecological forest management, where the character of the woodland is gradually changed from one where planted conifers dominate the landscape, toRead more

Lighting up the Darkness

Following pre and post-management surveying along Bovey Valley wood’s ancient banks and boundaries in August 2020 (Back in the Bovey blog), professional habitat-management contractors working for the Woodland Trust and Natural England have been selectively clearing holly, beech and sycamore to bring back the light to the woodland understorey, as part of Plantlife’s ‘Building Resilience in South West Woodlands’ project. Without management, many of these ancient boundaries have become over-grown with shading tree species which can become invasive if notRead more